15 - 18
August 2015
9. Benjamin SIMMONS (Australia);
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No Simmons in 2015 but Boomers expect him in future squads

MELBOURNE (2015 FIBA Oceania Championship) - Australia coach Andrej Lemanis is looking forward to watching Ben Simmons put on the Boomers jersey again and competing in international basketball.

It's just not going to happen this year.

The country's top young talent will not be with the Boomers when Lemanis and Co take on New Zealand in the FIBA Oceania Championship, games that will be played in Melbourne (15 August) and Wellington (18 August).

Simmons, a standout at Montverde Academy in Florida, is instead going to start preparing for his freshman year of American college basketball at Louisiana State University.

"He wants to perform well there and get into the routine of his schooling," Lemanis said to the Melbourne Age newspaper.

"I don't know exactly how the system works with summer school classes, but he will be able to take some up and that helps take the pressure off in-season."

Simmons, who hails from Fitzroy, would stand a very good chance of suiting up for the Australians next year at the Rio de Janeiro Games if the Boomers were to beat the Tall Blacks in the Oceania Championship and qualify.

In 2012, as a 15-year-old, he helped Australia to a second-place finish at the FIBA U17 World Championship in Kaunas, Lithuania.

The following year, he was a part of Australia's team that beat New Zealand in the FIBA Oceania Championship.

"Ben is someone who will feature prominently in our plans going forward, he narrowly missed out on making the world championship [FIBA Basketball World Cup] team last year and he continues to develop and get better," Lemanis said.

He [Simmons] is going to feature in our national team for a long time to come. - Lemanis

Another player that Australia will not have is Joe Ingles.

The veteran is taking this summer off after his first NBA season with the Utah Jazz.

Australia have already shown on plenty of occasions, however, that they can win games without players deemed important to the cause.

At Spain 2014, the Boomers made it to the Round of 16 without San Antonio Spurs guard Pat Mills.

Mills is expected play at August's FIBA Oceania Championship, and there is also hope that Andrew Bogut will play, too.

The center, who last put on the Australia shirt at the 2008 Olympics, is currently helping the Golden State Warriors in their NBA Western Conference playoff battles against the Memphis Grizzlies.